If you’ve read my blog for any time at all, you should be able to pick up on the fact that at best, I’m a seriously sentimental sap. I carry my memories around with me, hoping against hope that time and emotion don’t distort them all too much. Fact is, I tend to carry people and places around with me wherever I go- and although I know that can’t be said for everyone, my hope today is to try to evoke some sort of nostalgia in someone.
I wrote a while back about why I felt I had to go to my 20th reunion. I remember my parents attending theirs in 1987- right down to my mom’s hairstyle and dress. For me, it’s this abstract idea of adulthood- being one, living as one, and achieving as one. Yes, achieving. I use that word because I feel that deep down making it to adulthood and living among the aspects which denote it so- is indeed an accomplishment. You don’t live with your parents. You have a job. You have a life. You’re responsible. Congrats- you’re an adult.
So it is with tremendous disappointment that I learned our reunion, which is just under a month away, is at the 10% rsvp mark. Ok, it might be a percentage or two over that (math was NOT my best class)- but basically, it’s 10%. Now first and foremost I suspect that the ridiculous ticket price of $90 per person is to blame. I’m not a member of the planning committee (nor would I want to be!) but it seems like there should have been some more discussion as to the venue, etc. before settling on a location that charged that much for one person to attend. Ok- so we can agree: the price sucks. But in all reality- this is a one time thing. Really a once in a lifetime thing. Can we say that maybe $90 to celebrate 20 years might be worth a splurge?
Additionally, the next culprit I suspect is that changing times means people move. I *might* know a thing or two about that. I know several people who I adore live in California- which is a pretty far hike from Michigan. Flying in the good old US is disgustingly expensive – and adding that with the ticket price… meh. I get it.
Third, I blame Facebbok and I know I’m not the only one. I did a quick Google search earlier this week and read that the average attendance rate for a 20th reunion is 20-30% these days. It’s not like it was when our parents had their reunions. They didn’t have a computer with a website that refreshed status updates of even the most mundane details of daily life. Oh and photos of everyone’s kids. I know who has kids, who doesn’t. Who turned out to really be gay after all (even though I swear I never knew unless told) who got divorced, etc. etc. etc. These are all details that I wouldn’t know without FB, and truth be told- probably things people were shocked to learn at reunions. ‘I can’t believe SHE got married!‘ sort of thing. But anyhow. I’m sure this isn’t breaking news to anyone else as it’s pretty obvious that Facebook has ruined our social lives and self-esteem in one fell swoop.
Moving on. Here’s the part where I get serious: Look friends. Facebook does not replace real life. Seeing you on the screen doesn’t put my arms around you in a sincere and heartfelt hug. I want to hear your voice and look into your eyes while you tell me what you’ve been up to all these years. You know- what you’ve REALLY been up to, not just the Facebook highlights.
My hometown is fairly small. I went to elementary school with many of the people who I graduated with. I’ve known them since I was Brody’s age! I remember the majority of my teachers and if we had a class together. I probably saw your parents a time or two- and I ask you what’s wrong with going somewhere to celebrate all of that?
I think you underestimate your importance in the scheme of things. You were my classmate. You are someone who made it into adulthood and have a story to tell. I want to see you as a grown man or woman and hear what you’ve been doing. The cliques aren’t there anymore, the ‘groups’ that maybe you hated or clung to so desperately. We all have lives. I want to know where yours took you., and I know I’m not the only one.
Clearly I have been thinking a lot about this reunion for the past few weeks. I’ve even gone so far as to dream about myself in elementary school or high school again. Seeing old friends and living in the past. One person that has popped up a few times in my dreams is my friend Jim. I’ve known Jim since kindergarden. I developed a crush on him that I would carry around from the 3rd-5th grades, and always look at him as a true friend. I remember when his mom was pregnant with his sister. I was his date to our 8th grade Christmas dance, and remained his friend in high school. In college he came to my house on my 21st birthday and celebrated that night with us. I remember HE got pretty drunk and I ended up helping him crash on the floor. Not long after that he was killed by some lunatic on the freeway.
Jim won’t be there. I wish he would. I try to imagine him as an adult: married, with kids, a good job. Happy. I have to imagine what Jim’s life would be like- but you, fellow graduate, are still on this earth and can find people you used to know and tell them in person. No one has to imagine what your life is like. You can tell them.
I’d love to see you there and I know I’m not alone. That old locker neighbor? Would probably love to see you. The jerk you punched in the face during lunch? They’ve probably grown into a really nice guy. Brighton raised good, nice people. We were lucky. Don’t you want to celebrate how far we’ve come?
Did you go to your 20th reunion? Did you miss it? What did you think when it was over? Am I crazy for caring?
*If you’ve landed here and want info on the reunion email me and I’ll send you to the right person.